5 Tips for Arm balance poses

Hello friends,

I hope you had a fantastic weekend!?
Over the years of establishing my Yoga business and receiving tons of questions via social media platforms and emails from all over the world, I decided that it’s also time to release some online content from VAZA Yoga. That way you can easily practice anywhere you like with me, yay!!!

My first blog is 5 Tips for arm balance poses

To be able to arm balance we need a combination of flexibility, strength and overall body awareness. I sometimes compare it with learning how to ride a bicycle, first you feel scared, imbalanced and wobbly, but after practicing over and over again you finally hit those foot paddles with the perfect amount of strength and focus and of your ride into the sunset. Sorry got a bit carried away here :). But you get where I’m going, once you figured it out how to balance on your hands/ forearms it's super rewarding. 

 

Here are 5 tips on how to arm balance correctly

1. Correct Hand Positioning

Arm balancing can be hard on your wrist because you aren't used to bearing so much weight on them. It’s important to learn how to use your hand position correctly. To use the 4 corners of your palms position correctly: find a comfortable seat and take a look at your palm of your dominant hand. Use the index finger of the other hand to push gently into the 4 following corners in your palm (I teach it this way for your brain to memorize it better).

1: base of your index finger

2: base of your pinkie finger

3: base of your thumb

4: base of your outer wrist.

Set up in table pose, palms underneath the shoulders, knees in line with hips, push down into those 4 corners, press down evenly while you still lift up from the base of your palm.

Congrats you have already accomplished the first step to arm balance correctly :)

 Root down trough the 4 Corners of your hands 

Root down trough the 4 Corners of your hands 



2. Learn how to use your fingertips as brakes

Once you start to arm balance you realize fast that the forward motion will bring your face closer to the floor and that can be scary. It helps to bring a bolster or pillow below your face and the floor, so in case you fall you land soft. Now let's take a look at your fingers: please come back into your table pose, using the 4 corners of your hand, lift your palm and claw your fingertips into the floor. This is the perfect way how to counterbalance the forward momentum and gain greater control over the pose.
 

 Root down into the 4 corners of your hand, lift up trough the palm and claw your fingertips into the ground

Root down into the 4 corners of your hand, lift up trough the palm and claw your fingertips into the ground

 
 3. Practice similar shapes

We also need to engage our center to get more stable during our great balancing act. I like you to practice a similar shape that I call bug on the back. Lie on your back, bend your knees into the chest, extend your arms up straight, palms wide open and imagine to push them into the ceiling above you, bring your knees into the upper arms and push them as hard as you can into them, then engage your lower abdominals even more till your tailbone starts to lift of the mat. Hold for 10 seconds, release, rest for a moment and repeat 3 times. 

bug on back .jpg

                        Bug on the back 

 

4. Practice correct breathing

Arm balancing can be scary, but maintaining a steady and calm breath while practicing to balance on your hands is essential. The steadier the breath, the steadier the mind = steadier arm balance.

 picture credit: thebuddhistcentre

picture credit: thebuddhistcentre


5. Practice what you just learned: Let’s try Crane (Crow) Pose ~ Bakasana

Please warm up first then come into a Malasana ~ Squat Pose, if your heals can’t touch the ground fold your mat below them or use a blanket to support them. 
Then place your hands shoulder width apart (as instructed in #1) on the ground
bring your arms into chaturanga arms and start to engage your core. Keep that engagement and walk your knees up high on your upper arms ( pretty much as close as you can to the armpit, as this part is more stable then towards the elbow). Shift your gaze towards the top of your mat or a bit further than your fingertips. 
Remember to continue breathing evenly, then start to shift your weight forward to lift up one foot first, hold it there for 5 steady and calm breath then continue to the other side.
GREAT JOB, now try to lift both feet off the same time and start to bring your feet to touch. Keep squeezing them together will help to keep your core engaged.

Tip: If the back of your arms start to hurt from the balaning your weight engage the core even more, that will take the pressure off. 
Use your fingertips as breaks as described in tip #2

FATASTIC YOU ROCKED IT!!!

Please don't forget to ENJOY the process! Take your time and focus on working on every step to get there and practice, practice, practice. 

 Squat: Please step your feet outer hip with apart, heels in, toes out and squat down and place your hands together infront of the heart. Lengthen trough your spine and stay for about 5-10 long breath. Take a rest. And after that move on into Crow Pose

Squat: Please step your feet outer hip with apart, heels in, toes out and squat down and place your hands together infront of the heart. Lengthen trough your spine and stay for about 5-10 long breath. Take a rest. And after that move on into Crow Pose

IMG_0739.jpg

Crow Pose: follow the steps in Tip #5 and remember to breath & relax. 

Congrats! Even if you feed didn't quite flowed up yet, keep practicing and one day you will succeed.

I hope you enjoyed the tips! If you like to practice crow and other fun arm balancing poses with me in person, join me for my next workshop this Saturday, 1/20 in San Francisco @thecentersf.

 

 

Contraindications:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome